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Female Youth Who Sexually Coerce: Prevalence, Risk, and Protective Factors in Two National High School Surveys


Cecilia Kjellgren, BSW, PhD student, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Lund University, Sofiav 2D, SE 222 41 Lund, Sweden. Tel: +4646 174314; Fax: +4646 174311; E-mail:


Introduction.  Sexual coercion is recognized as a serious societal problem. Correlates and risk factors of sexually abusive behavior in females are not well known.

Aim.  Etiological theory and empirical study of female perpetrators of sexual coercion are usually based on small or highly selected samples. Specifically, population-based data are needed to elucidate risk/protective factors.

Main Outcome Measures.  Main outcome measures include a self-report questionnaire containing 65 items tapping socio-demographic and health conditions, social relations, sexual victimization, conduct problems and a set of normative and deviant sexual cognitions, attitudes, and behaviors.

Methods.  We used a 2003–2004 survey of sexual attitudes and experiences among high school students in Norway and Sweden to identify risk factors and correlates to sexually coercive behavior (response rate 80%); 4,363 females participated (Mean = 18.1 years).

Results.  Thirty-seven women (0.8%) reported sexual coercion (ever talked someone into, used pressure, or forced somebody to have sex). Sexually coercive compared with non-coercive women were similar on socio-demographic variables, but reported less parental care and more parental overprotection, aggression, depressive symptoms, and substance misuse. Also, sexually coercive females reported more sexual lust, sex partners, penetrative sexual victimization, rape myths, use of violent porn, and friends more likely to use porn. When using the Swedish subsample to differentiate risk factors specific for sexual coercion from those for antisocial behavior in general, we found less cannabis use, but more sexual preoccupation, pro-rape attitudes, and friends using violent porn in sexually coercive compared with non-sex conduct problem females.

Conclusions.  Sexually coercive behavior in high school women was associated with general risk/needs factors for antisocial behavior, but also with specific sexuality-related risk factors. This differential effect has previously been overlooked, agrees with similar findings in men, and should have substantial etiological importance. Kjellgren C, Priebe G, Svedin CG, Mossige S, and Långström N. Female youth who sexually coerce: Prevalence, risk, and protective factors in two national high school surveys. J Sex Med **;**:**–**.